Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  February 8, 2013 6:00pm-7:00pm EST

6:00 pm
02/08/13 02/08/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> we're going to hold the hearing. i'm going to ask the room be cleared and the codepink associates not be permitted to come back in. you have done this five times now. five times is enough. >> protesters repeatedly disrupt
6:01 pm
the confirmation hearing of obama's nominee for cia director john brennan over his support for drones and the targeted killings of u.s. citizens. >> people that were standing up here today, i think they really have a misunderstanding of what we do as a government and the care we take, and the agony we go through to make sure we do not have any collateral injuries or deaths. >> 8 codepink protesters are arrested. we will speak with the group's founder who after returning from pakistan to protest drones, personally went to the house of john brennan, not on the door. he invited her in. we will find out what they talked about. you also speak with jeremy scahill, author of the forthcoming book and movied andirty wars," and melvin goodman, author of, "national insecurity: the cost of american militarism." all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and
6:02 pm
peace report. i'm amy goodman. john brennan, president of and is picked to head the cia, defended the administration's controversial counterterrorism policies during his senate confirmation hearing thursday. he attempted to justify the administration's use of drone strikes, and backtracked on his earlier assertion that water boarding yielded useful information. he also denied he played a central role in the agency's torture of suspected terrorists, and suggested he was misled as a cia senior official over the value of information obtained through so-called enhanced interrogation tactics. this is part of his defense of drones for the >> i think there is a misimpression on parts of the american people who believe that we take strikes to punish terrorists past transgressions. nothing could be further from the truth. we take actions as a last resort to save lives when there is no other alternative to taking an action that will mitigate that threat. >> his confirmation hearing was
6:03 pm
tempered called into recess following multiple interruptions by protesters drawn attention to his leading role in the drone war. members of the group code pink began standing up one by one to condemn the killings of u.s. citizens and civilians abroad until senate intelligence committee chaired by an feinstein brought the hearing to a halt. >> year-old mother and 92-year- old father who emigrated from ireland nearly 65 years ago. >> [inaudible] >> we're going to halt the hearing. and when asked the room be cleared and the codepink associates not be permitted to come back in. we've done this five times now, and five times are enough. >> 8 codepink activists were arrested. we'll have more on the hearing and be joined by the codepink founder medea gen -- mehdi
6:04 pm
benjamin. we will also speak with investigative journalist jeremy scahill and former cia analyst mel goodman. tens of thousands have taken to the streets in tunisia for the barrel -- burial procession of an opposition leader assassinated earlier this week. a political crisis has been mounting since the murder of chokri belaid, a leading human rights advocate and outspoken critic of the islamist-led government. and it's the turmoil on wednesday, the prime minister proposed to dissolve parliament and form a government but the ruling islamist party has rejected the prime minister's bid. in iraq, a series of explosions across the country have killed at least 31 people with dozen others wounded. today marks the seventh consecutive friday when bombings have taken place in iraq amidst rising sectarian tensions ahead of the april elections. u.s. news outlets are facing
6:05 pm
criticism after it was revealed they complied with an obama administration request to hide the location of a secret u.s. drone base in saudi arabia. the base was first used in 2011 to kill muslim cleric and u.s. citizen anwar al awlaki. the paper discusses location of the first time this week, reportedly because the base's architect, john brennan, is now nominated to head the cia. the washington post admitted there were also part of "in informal arrangement among several news organizations that have been aware of the location for more than a year." critics are questioning the papers' silence, particularly because other outlets noted the location of the base months ago. the times of london mentioned it in july 2011 while fox news notification and an online article before broadening the language to say "arabian peninsula." adrian chen wrote --
6:06 pm
a hunt is underway in southern california for former police officer accused of killing three people and launching a targeted offensive against the l.a. police department. christopher dorner, a former navy reserve lieutenant, posted a lengthy manifesto on facebook vowing "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in lapd uniform." the l.a. police chief described the suspect on thursday. >> of course he knows what he is doing. we trained him read it he was also a member of the armed forces. it is extremely worrisome and scary, especially to the police officers involved. >> christopher dorner was fired from the lapd in 2008 for making false statements after he complained that his training officer had kicked a mentally 0 suspect in the course of an arrest. testimony by the suspect's father supported dorner's claim. over the weekend, dorner
6:07 pm
allegedly shot dead monica quan, a basketball coach and daughter of the former police captain who represented him during his disciplinary action, as well as her fiancee, a university safety officer. he is also accused of shooting several police officers, one of them fatally. christopher dorner's manifesto accuses the department of racism, corruption, and other abuses. it explicitly calls for tighter gun control with dorner saying his spree would not have been possible with a "well regulated assault weapons ban." police pursuing dorner as part of a multi agency hunt were involved in at least two separate shootings injuring two people thursday after the cam across vehicles that looked similar to the suspects. dorner's on truck was found on fire and abandoned. lawmakers in california have unveiled a series of bills aimed at making the state's gun restrictions the toughest in the country. the legislative package would ban semi-automatic rifles with
6:08 pm
detachable magazines and require special permits to buy ammunition, among other provisions. top u.s. officials have revealed for the first time the cia, military, and state department all backed a plan last year to arm syrian rebels. defense secretary leon panetta said the plan to provide weapons to vetted fighters was ultimately rejected by the white house. the disclosure came as panetta and martin dempsey, chair of the joint chiefs of staff, appeared before a senate panel thursday where the also testified about the fatal attack on u.s. diplomatic mission in benghazi, libya last year. this is leon panetta. clip later inthat the broadcast. amid questioning of the placement of troops during the libya attack, martin dempsey and the military is looking into building "small, rapidly deployable forces" around the world. a bangladeshi man who tried to block the new york federal reserve bank with a fake bomb as part of an elaborate fbi sting
6:09 pm
operation has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. 21-year old quazi nafis faces 30 years to life in prison following his arrest last october. the fbi supplied every component of the attack including the inert explosives, the band used to carry them, the detonator, and even the storage facility where an agent helped quazi nafis assemble the fake bomb. the agent even reportedly planted the idea of using a remote-control device to trigger an explosion after quazi nafis had originally planned a suicide mission but expressed a desire to return to bangladesh first. thursday, quazi nafis renounced violence is that "i deeply and sincerely regret my involvement in this case." an autopsy report has shed new light on the death of a mexican teenager shot by u.s. border patrol last october. authorities neplanned 16-year-od jose elena rodri wezas throwing rocks at agents over the border fence, that medical examiners say he was shot as many as 11 times with all but one of the bullets striking from behind.
6:10 pm
they also found the bullets entered his body at a lower point than where they exited. a lawyer for his family said "the only way i can fathom that report is that he was lying on his face when he was hit." further doubt has also been cast on the claim that jose was throwing rocks, since was standing on the mexican side of the border fence, the top of which was more than 40 feet above him. state senators in north dakota have passed a measure critics fear could end abortion in the state. the bill requires doctors at the state's only abortion clinic to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a step that can be impossible for abortion providers. alabama republicans have advanced a similar bill while yet another parallel measure enacted in mississippi is threatened to close that state's only remaining clinic. the northeastern united states is bracing for a massive blizzard that is expected to dump up to 2 feet of snow from new york city to boston today and into saturday. flights and school classes have
6:11 pm
been cancelled across the region in anticipation of the storm, which is in described as historic. snow is already falling here in new york city. in britain, beef lasagna products have been pulled from the shelves over concerns their action made up of horse meat. frozen food company findus tested several of its products and found most contained between 60% and 100% horse. the news comes after millions of burgers were withdrawn in ireland and britain over similar concerns. the lasagna products are being tested for bute, a horse drug that could be potentially harmful to humans. catherine brown, head of the food standards agency, spoke to the bbc. >> we have run this tests. the clear majority potentially all of these products are in fact horse meat. now we're going to require every food business to test every product line the it meatballs, lasagna, burgers, to be able to
6:12 pm
assure us that there is no course in these products. >> and those are some of the headlines for it this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. during his confirmation hearing thursday, president obama's nominee to run the cia, john brennan, forcefully defended the president's counterterrorism policies including the increase use of armed drones and the targeted killings of american citizens. he also refused to say that waterboarding was a former torture and he admitted that he did not try to stop waterboarding while he was a top cia official under president george w. bush. four years ago, brennan was a rumored pick for the cia job when obama was first elected, but he was forced to withdraw from consideration amid protests over his public support for the cia's policies of so- called enhanced interrogation techniques and extraordinary rendition program. >> the start of his confirmation
6:13 pm
hearing had to be temporarily halted following repeated interruptions by protesters. members of the group code pink began standing up one by one to condemn brennan's's role in the drone war, much to the chagrin of dianne feinstein. >> i am honored to appear before you today as the president's nominee -- >> would you halt please? we will ask the police to please remove this woman. thank you very much. the >> [inaudible] >> please remove -- >> [inaudible] >> that code pink protester interrupted john brennan was retired army colonel and former diplomats ann wright, who oversaw the reopening of u.s. embassy in afghanistan in 2001,
6:14 pm
as deputy chief of mission. she was wearing a sign around her neck with the name of tariq aziz, a 16-year-old pakistani boy was killed in u.s. drone strike in 2011. the sign she held up read, "brennan equals drone killing." john brennan letter addressed the protesters as he defended the drone program. >> i think there is a misimpression on some american people who believe that we take drone strikes to punish terrorists for past transgressions and nothing could be further from the truth. we only take actions as a last resort to save lives when there is no other alternative to taking an action that will mitigate that threat. we need to make sure there is an understanding and the people who were standing up here today, i think they really have a misunderstanding of what we do as a government and the care we take in the agony we go through to make sure that we do not have any collateral injuries or
6:15 pm
deaths. as the chairman said earlier, we need to be able to go out and say that publicly and openly and i think it is critically important because people are reacting to a lot of falsehoods out there. >> for more, we're joined by videostream by jeremy scahill, producer and writer of the documentary film, "dirty wars: the world is a battlefield." it premiered last month at the sundance film festival. his book goes on sale in april. a special security correspondent for the nation, author of "blackwater" and at correspondent for "democracy now!" la. your assessment of what john brennan said and the questions he was asked? >> if you look at what happened yesterday at the senate intelligence committee, this is kabuki oversight. this was basically a show that was produced by the white house conjunction with senator feinstein's office. the reality was, is that, none
6:16 pm
of the central questions that should of been asked of john brennan were asked in an effective way. in the cases where people like or white and oneg as the real question, for instance, what are not the cia has the right to kill u.s. citizens on u.s. soil, the questions were very good. brennan would then offer up a non-answer. then the or the almost no follow-up requests let's go to ron wyden's questioning of john brennan thursday. he is leading the push for the white house to explain its rationale for targeting u.s. citizens. >> let me ask you several other questions with respect to the president's authority to kill americans. i would ask you how much evidence the president needs to decide that a particular american can be lawfully killed and whether the administration believes that the president can use his authority inside the
6:17 pm
united states. my judgment, but the congress and the public need to understand the answers to these kind of fundamental questions. what do you think needs to be done to ensure that members of the public understand more about when the government thinks it is allowed to kill them, particularly with respect to those two issues, question of evidence and the authority to use this power within the united states? >> i have been a strong proponent of trying to be as open as possible with these programs. as far as our explaining what we're doing. but we need optimize transparency on these issues and at the same time optimize secrecy and the protection of national security. i don't think it is one or the other. it is time optimized both of them. we need to explain to the american people what are the thresholds for action, what are the practices and procedures and the approvals and the reviews. the office of legal counsel
6:18 pm
advice establishes the legal boundaries within which we can operate. it doesn't mean we operate at those out of boundaries. i think the american people would be quite pleased to know we have been very judicious and discipline and only use these capabilities as a last resort. >> that was john brennan at answering senator on one of's question, a chief critic. president obama called him yesterday. a group said it would stop the hearing if information about drone strikes was not presented. ron wyden the tentative that affirmation -- attempted to get that information. >> if you listen to john brennan, it sounds like he is buying a used car and what sort of little gadgets and whistles its ads for it optimize? ron wyden was asking him about the extent of the cia's legal authority against u.s. citizens on u.s. soil and abroad. the problem is, while some
6:19 pm
questions were asked that are central questions, the result is no follow-up. people would not or senators would not push brennan back when he was floating things or nonsensical or just gibberish are using terms like "we need optimize" this or that. remember, this is a guy for all practical purposes who is president obama's hit man or assassination czar. he has been at the center of a secret process where the white house is deciding who lives and dies around the world every day, yet the conversation that took place was as though there were talking about whether or not they're going to add a wing onto a school in idaho something. we were talking about life and death issues for people not only u.s. citizens, but around the world. there was no discussion at all of the so-called signature strike. the idea the u.s. is targeting people whose identities it does not know, whose actual
6:20 pm
involvement in terror plots is not known, no discussion of the fact the obama administration authorized operations that killed three u.s. citizens in a two-week time frame in 2011. one from was a 16-year-old boy who was sitting in having dinner with his cousins in yemen. no discussion of the case of samir khan, a pakistani-american who was killed alongside anwar awlaki. his family had met with the fbi prior to his death. the fbi told his family that samir khan was not indicted, that samir khan was not accused of a crime, yet you have three u.s. citizens being killed. when anwar awlaki's name was raised during the course of the hearing, it was one of the most disgusting displays of a show trial or a faux trial have ever seen. john brennan and dianne feinstein set out to put anwar awlaki on trial posthumously
6:21 pm
without presenting any evidence and to issue a guilty verdict. the whole thing was a show. >> let's go to diane feinstein asking brennan to talk about anwar awlaki, the american citizen who was assassinated in yemen in a drone strike in 2011. >> can ask you questions about him? what's your the chairman critic rex did he have a connection to a man who attempted to explode a device on one of our planes over detroit? >> yes, he did. >> can you tell us with that connection is? >> alec prefer not to at this time. >> didn't have a connection to the fort hood attack? the al qaeda peninsula has a variety of means of communicating and inciting individuals, whether that the
6:22 pm
website or emails or those types of things. so there are a number of occasions where individuals, including mr. awlaki, have been in touch with individuals. i am not prepared to address the specifics of these, but suffice it to say -- >> shias on who pled guilty to the 2010 times square car bombing attempt tell interrogators in 2010 that he was inspired by awlaki? >> i believe that is correct, yes. >> last october, al-awlaki's, did he have a direct role in supervising and directing the failed attempt to bring down two u.s. cargo aircraft by detonating explosives concealed inside two packages? as a matter of fact, inside a computer printer cartridge. >> mr. al-awlaki's was involved
6:23 pm
in overseeing the number of these activities, yes. >> jeremy scahill, continue. >> what you're seeing there, first of all, let's remember the obama administration never sought an indictment against anwar awlaki that we know of. he was never charged with a crime that we know of. and he was executed out of orders from the president of the nine states is a timber 2011. the issue is not to anwar awlaki was, but the issue is the constitution, due process. what we saw -- i that senator feinstein's office coordinated this moment with the white house to put on this show trial because of the deadly serious questions surrounding the killing of a u.s. citizen without due process. what we saw play out there was with absolute theater where you
6:24 pm
had anwar awlaki been posthumously tried with no evidence. what came after the clip you just played is feinstein in brennan agreeing quite heavily that anwar awlaki was a bad man and that it was justified to take him out and kill him but there's no question about the fact two weeks later they killed and more al-awlaki's 16-year-old son who no one has ever alleged has any ties to terrorism or any militant organization. his only connection was who his father was. there's something insidious that happen there. i think it really is patronizing of the sensibility of the american people to engage in something like that with one of the most powerful lawmakers on capitol hill, essentially conspiring with the white house and its nominee to be the cia to retroactively the justifying the killing of a u.s. citizen who was never charged with a crime. >> jeremy, i want to move to another aspect of the hearing.
6:25 pm
in a few cases, some of the republican members asked somewhat tougher questions of brennan, especially saxby chambliss question him about the whole issue of high-value targets and how effective this program had been. here's a clip from that exchange. >> how many targets have been captured during your service with the administration? there have been a number of individuals who have been captured, arrested, detained, interrogated, and put away by our partners overseas, which is we have given them the capacity now, provided them the intelligence. unlike right after 9/11 when these countries were unwilling and unable to do it, we have given them that opportunity. that is where we're working with our partners. >> how many targets have been arrested and detained and interrogated by the united states during your four years
6:26 pm
with the administration? >> i will be happy to get that information to you in terms of those high-value targets that have been captured with the u.s. intelligence support. >> i submit the answer to that is one. and he was put on a ship for 60 days and interrogated. >> that was saxby chambliss. dianne feinstein had a little different take in terms of the high-value targets. this is what she said. >> having the executive being the prosecutor, the judge, the jury, and executioner all in one is very contrary to traditions in the laws of this country. particularly in this ditch away to where there is time. if a soldier on the battlefield does not have time to go to court, if you're planning a strike over a matter of days, weeks, or months, there is an opportunity to least go to some
6:27 pm
outside of the executive branch body like the fisa court in a top-secret way, make the case that this american citizen is an enemy combatant. >> i think is worthy of discussion. our tradition, judicially, is a court of law is used to determine one's guilt or innocence for past actions for it which is very different from the decisions made on the battlefield as well as actions taken against terrorists. because none of those actions are to determine past built for those actions they took. the decisions made are to take action so we prevent a future action to protect american lives. that is an inherently executive branch function. >> that was in disking -- angus king, not dianne feinstein. jeremy, your response to those
6:28 pm
clips? >> first of all, senator king did a good job of raising some of these issues. he is due to the senate and did i get the memo you do not talk the white house officials that way, so it was a relief when he started to ask these questions in the hearing. you brought up the issue of the republicans asking tougher questions. what we saw in general the republicans were doing was engaging in a partisan theater of their own, where they made the whole issue about white house leaves for the most part, talking about in gauzy, which is sort of the second coming of 9/11 -- benghazi, which is sort of the second coming of 9/11 in this watergate-type scandal. while the republicans did as some good questions, there's something fundamentally dishonest and full of hypocrisy with the gop line on this. they have been hammering the department justice -- the white paper came out a couple of days ago that outline the legal casebasis for targeting u.s.
6:29 pm
citizens. they've been hammering away on the obama administration. the reality is, when george bush was president, he was doing these very same actions and engaged in widespread targeted killing operation, and he was running secret prisons around the world and there were torturing people and using waterboarding and other techniques. republicans are portraying it as in the good old days of the bush a ministration, we would actually a rest people and ask them questions and obama is just running around the world pumping them off. that is some negative truth, but the idea the republicans have a moral ground to stand on with this? that is laughable. these guys were merder inc for
6:30 pm
two straight administrations. say with at they grain of salt. i cannot say i was surprised at what happened on capitol hill, but it really was more less a love fest with in the most powerful senators when it comes to intelligence operations in the u.s. and john brennan, a man who could not get confirmed the last time obama tried to make him cia director because of very serious questions about his views on an role in the torture program under the bush administration, has served for more than four years as the assassination czar, and it basically looked like they're discussing purchasing a used car on capitol hill. total kabuki oversight. that is a devastating commentary on where things stand. >> dianne feinstein in her opening statement asserting few civilians have died in u.s. drone strikes. >> we're going to play a clip.
6:31 pm
>> the very low number of civilian casualties that result from such strikes. i have been limited in my ability to do so. but for the past several years, this committee has done significant oversight of the government's conduct of targeted strikes and the figures we have obtained from the executive branch, which we have done our utmost to verify, confirmed that the number of civilian casualties that have resulted from such strikes each year has typically been in the single digits. >> jeremy scahill, your final comments? >> i would invite senator feinstein and other members of the intelligence committee to travel to yemen where i was a few months ago and meet with the villagers were more than 40 people were killed, several dozen of them women and children, their bodies shredded in to meet with u.s. cluster
6:32 pm
bombs, and then come back and go on national television and talk about single digits. there were over 40 people killed in one strike alone. you know what? that was not even a drone strike. it was a cruise missile strike. everyone is obsess with drones. the u.s. uses tomahawk cruise missile strikes, night raids, some of the most devastating were not even drone attacks. this congress is totally asleep at the wheel when it comes to having any effective oversight. they allow john brennan to say repeatedly, "i am not a lawyer" loss st. "everything is perfectly legal." what kind of a show is this? what does this say about our society when this is the extent of the debate we can have when in ministration in power has asserted the right to kill u.s. citizens and foreigners alike around the world without trial?
6:33 pm
it is devastating. it should be a sobering moment for all of us. >> we read about the u.s. news outlets. you complained about the democratic senators working with the white house. what about u.s. news outlets facing criticism for revealing they complied with an obama administration request to hide the location of the u.s. drone base in saudi arabia that had already been publicly reported? >> what's new? this is been going on forever. but, the times with major media outlets colluding with the bush a ministration to either facilitate the the ministers from propaganda, or issue, the conveyor belt of lies, or on the other hand concealing potentially illegal programs or actions that are being conducted by the bush the administration. this happened during the bush era. to have a now the obama administration is just par for the course for a >> jeremy, thank you for being with us.
6:34 pm
jeremy scahill, national secure a correspondent for the nation magazine, the narrator and subject of the new film, "dirty wars: the world is a battlefield." he is author of the forthcoming book by the same title. when we come back, the woman who is just returned from pakistan who went to john brennan's house, not on the door, and he answered, invited her in. they had a conversation with medea benjamin, the founder of codepink. ♪ [music break]
6:35 pm
>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we continue to talk about
6:36 pm
thursday's senate confirmation hearing for john brennan to head the cia. i want to turn back to the code pink members in the audience who interrupted the hearing multiple times. at the outset of brennan's testimony, some began standing up one by one to voice their dissent much to the frustration of the senate intelligence committee chairman dianne feinstein. >> i am pleased to be joined by my wife and brother -- >> i speak for the mothers -- >> we will stop again -- >> [inaudible] >> please remove -- >> tell congress what countries where killing children in. senator feinstein are your children more important than the children of pakistan and yemen? are they more important [inaudible]
6:37 pm
>> please, proceed, mr. brennan. the next time we will clear the chamber and bring people back in one by one. this witness is entitled to be heard, ladies and gentlemen. please, give him that opportunity. >> to keep it a heartfelt thank you customize family in new jersey, a 91-year-old mother and 92-year-old father who emigrated from ireland nearly 65 years ago. >> [inaudible] i have a list of the names -- >> we're going to halt the hearing. i will ask the room be cleared and the codepink associates not be permitted to come back in. we have done this five times now. five times are enough. >> that is just what they did, cleared the hall.
6:38 pm
eight codepink activists were arrested. that is an excerpt from tuesday's confirmation hearing for john brennan to head the cia. we're joined by one of the protesters who was in the confirmation hearing, there to interrupt him before capitol police removed her and doesn't others, medea benjamin, founder of codepink -- and a dozen others, medea benjamin, founder of codepink. can you talk about going to pakistan protesting drones, then coming back and knocking on the door of john brennan's house? >> well, we took a group of 34 americans to pakistan where we had a chance to meet with drone victims and came back just so appalled by our policies that i said, how are we going to speak to the officials? john brennan in the hearing
6:39 pm
yesterday said they are open to talking to the american public, but we have tried every way possible to speak to people in the cia, people in the obama administration, even people in the state department where we have meetings and they say is a covert program and cannot talk about it. i decided to do a simple google search and find where he lived, and i did, and went there. i should correct to, i was not invited in the house for it we had a discussion from his door way. but i talked about we had just come back from pakistan and met the people who have lost their loved ones and could he tell us how this happened and can there be reckoning, and apology, an acknowledgement? one of the most important segments that came yesterday is john brennan saying he thought, yes, if there had been killings by mistake, there should be an acknowledgement of that. we're still waiting for that. you saw one of the women who stood up with a long list.
6:40 pm
she drove in from indianapolis yesterday with a list of 176 children and said, "i will be happy to give this to you." he keeps saying that there are so few casualties, it is a lie. >> what did john brennan say when you're standing on his doorstep? what was the conversation? what he said we were being manipulated in pakistan. i said, then let's take three cases. can you get back to me with information about the case of tariq aziz, a 16-year-old killed, the brother and the son of a journalist whose family members were killed just take those three cases and find out what happened to them. he said he did not know about it. he took my car instead, "will get back to use a web of course, we never heard anything back. we think it is important to get responses from particular cases and we plan to go to diane feinstein's office today and
6:41 pm
say, what happened to those cases as well as the 16-year-old son of anwar al awlaki? were they killed on purpose? with a high level al qaeda operatives? the 16-year-old? where were they killed by mistake? if so, we want an acknowledgement by our government. >> one banner you held up is "john brennan is a national security risk." specifically, you were referring to this base in saudi arabia. could you talk about that little bit? >> i wrote about this in my book "drone warfare," or george bush -- one of the reasons osama bin laden said we were attacked on 9/11 was having bases in saudi arabia. george bush quietly closed those and now we have barack obama, under the leadership of john brennan who is stationed in saudi arabia, renegotiating opening up the u.s. base there
6:42 pm
for drones. imagining blowback we are going to get from having another base in the holy land in saudi arabia. this is a national security risk to the u.s., and the person we can identify with that risk is john brennan. let's not forget the role of barack obama. >> what about that, medea benjamin, the role of president obama? this is a hearing for the director of central intelligence, the barack obama has taken direct responsibility for running the kill list from the oval office. >> right to. we say this is a policy of the obama administration. the kill list happens in tuesday meetings at the white house. this is something we have to recognize is not coming from another political party, but coming from the democratic party with the complicity of the republicans. it is also the complicity of the entire senate intelligence committee that has allowed the
6:43 pm
cia to become a death squad, which is what it is today. we have been organizing, mobilizing, put out a letter by 100 religious leaders that was said to the white house, the intelligence committee members, organizing people within the military and getting letters from yemen and pakistan to say that these policies put us at risk, counterproductive. we even have someone like general mcchrystal saying, we don't understand the visceral hatred coming against the u.s. because of these drone strikes. we also to copies of living under drones done by nyu and stanford law school that explains it is not only the killing, but the terrorizing of an entire population where they hear the drums buzzing overhead 24 hours a day, where they are afraid to go to school, to funerals, weddings, to the market. it disrupts entire communities. we're trying to get this information to our elected
6:44 pm
officials to say that you are making as unsafe your home, nothing to say how illegal and inhumane these policies are. >> codepink has taken the initial step of hiring a lobbyist to try to write legislation around this drone warfare? but yes, we have. we hired a lobbyist that understands the left and right in the congress and tried to pull together people from both sides were may be less afraid to criticize president obama to come to gather to try to put some regulation into this out of control use of drones by both the cia and the military, but one important thing is to say the cia should have absolutely no drones. lethal drugs should not in the hands of an organization like the cia. >> i want to go back to senator ron wyden asking about details of where the cia has carried out lethal covert actions. >> three weeks ago i noted i've
6:45 pm
been asking for over a year to receive the names of any and all countries where the intelligence community has used its legal authority. if confirmed, would you provide the full list of countries to members of this committee and staff? >> i know this is an outstanding request on your part. we discussed it. if i were to be confirmed as director of cia, i would get back to you and it would be my intention to do everything possible to meet this committee's legitimate interest in the question it, john brennan responding to ron wyden, the leader of the questioning around drone warfare. >> this is the intelligence oversight committee. this is the committee that is supposed to provide the checks and balances to the executive branch and to say that a senior member of the intelligence committee has not been able to get a list of the countries where we are killing people is just beyond belief. how can we call ourselves a
6:46 pm
democracy? this is crazy. >> we will end with the words of someone who was not in the hearing yesterday, the protesters in the hearing asking questions, caring the names of those killed in drone strikes. this is anwar awlaki's father who was speaking recently about the u.s. drone strike that killed his 16-year-old grandson, and awlaki's sun 3 the denver born teenager killed in u.s. drone strike october 14, 2011 while he was eating dinner at an outdoor restaurant with his teenage cousin. he was killed just weeks after his father was assassinated in a similar drone strike. >> i want americans to know about my grandson, that he was a very nice way. he was a very caring what for his family. for his mother, his brother.
6:47 pm
he was born in august 19, 1995 in the state of colorado, city of denver. he was raised in america from when he was a child and to lose 10 years old -- until he was 10 years old. i never thought that one day this nice boy would be killed by his own government. speaking of hiss grandson that was killed in u.s. drone strike. that video was produced by the aclu. thank you to co-founder of codepink, medea benjamin, offer of "drone warfare: killing by remote control." she was in yesterday's hearing, recently back from protesting drone strikes in pakistan. when we come back, we will turn to a former cia analyst, m,eel goodman.
6:48 pm
back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
6:49 pm
>> back in 2009, he wrote a song and dance for the entire year. that was on 109. the lyrics are from the torture memos of the bush a ministration. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we continue our coverage of the senate confirmation hearings for john brennan as director of the cia. looking at his role inside the cia under george w. bush. thursday he was repeatedly questioned about his views on interrogation and torture. this is carl levin of michigan. >> in your opinion, does waterboarding constitutes torture? >> the attorney general has referred to waterboarding as torture many have referred to as torture. as you well know and we've had this discussion, the term
6:50 pm
"torture" has a lot of legal implications. it is something that should have been banned long ago. in my view it never should have taken place. if i were go to the cia, it would never be brought back. >> to you have a personal opinion as to whether waterboarding is torture? >> i have the personal opinion that it is reprehensible and should not be done. i'm not a lawyer cannot address that question. >> you have read opinions as to whether or not waterboarding as torture. would you accept those of the attorney general? >> i have read a lot of legal opinions. the previous administration said waterboarding could be used. from the standpoint of that, i cannot point to a single legal document on this issue. as far as i'm concerned, waterboarding is something that never should have been employed and as far as i'm concerned, never will be if i have anything to do about it. >> is waterboarding banned by
6:51 pm
the geneva conventions? but i believe the attorney general says it in -- again, i am not a lawyer or legal scholar to make a determination about what is in violation of an international convention. >> that was john brennan being questioned during his senate confirmation hearing by carl levin of michigan. we're joined morfor more by meln goodman. director of the center's national security project and his latest book is, "national insecurity: the cost of american militarism." your response to that line of questioning, mel goodman? >> i think it was very disturbing on a lot of levels. it is a step backward, for one thing. former director leon panetta did define waterboarding as torture. the attorney general has defined it as waterboarding -- defined waterboarding as torture, but john brennan will not do so. when john brennan was the deputy executive assistant, he was the
6:52 pm
trigger for some of these onerous policies, particularly renditions an extraordinary renditions. for john brennan today to say he read the senate committee intelligence report on torture and learned things he never knew before and you shop with what he learned from this is a case of incredible willful ignorance. he is in the the top of the cia and now the top of the white house -- actually, probably stepping down becoming the director of the cia -- has written a manual for targeted killings, written the disposition matrix which is something that of george orwell that allows the president of the u.s. to pick targets based on evidence that ran it collects from the cia, presumably the same kind of evidence that was taken to the country in 2002, 2003 that allowed the u.s. to go to war. all of this is extremely disturbing about who john
6:53 pm
burnett is. if you look at the new york times today, they described yesterday's event as intense, aggressive and he did. this was a walk in the part for this man grew at the very end of the hearing, i thought was fascinating when john brennan had the audacity to look at this committee and the chairman and say, "i want you to be an advocate for the central intelligence agency." the job of the senate intelligence committee is to be an advocate to the american citizens, to make sure the american citizens understand that secret acts are not breaking laws and not illegal and not immoral. so john brennan now is in no position to claim that he wants the senate intelligence committee to back him up regardless of what cia activities he sponsors. this is a very disturbing series of events. >> mel goodman, republican
6:54 pm
senator saxby chambliss also asked brennan about waterboarding. let's go to that exchange. >> you received the daily updates as executive director, from the time of zubaydah's interrogation, including the and lawfulness of the techniques, putting you in a position to express any concerns you had about the program. before any of the most controversial techniques including waterboarding were ever used. now we found a minimum of 50 months -- memos in the documents within the 6000 pages on which you were copied. what steps did you take to stop cia from moving to these techniques you now say you find objectionable at the time? what i did not take steps to stop the cia's use of those techniques. i was not in chain of command of that program.
6:55 pm
i have responsibility for overseeing the management of the agency and all of its various functions. i was aware of the program. i was cc'd on some of those documents, but i was not in charge. i expressed my personal objections and views to agency colleagues about certain eit's, but did not stop it because it was something being done in a different part of the agency under the authority of others. it was something that was directed by the demonstration at the time they go mel goodman, your response to his answer? >> very disturbing for him to say he was in a different part of the agency, he was the agency. he was on the seventh floor of the agency. he was an executive assistant to the director and executive secretary of the cia.
6:56 pm
he was the one they allowed to go on sunday morning talk shows to defend renditions, particularly extraordinary rendition, which involves not only kidnapping people off the streets in the middle east, africa, in europe, the sending of two countries where we knew these people would be tortured. this is very reminiscent of bob gates in the iran-contra 20 years ago when he was confirmed when he said he really knew nothing about and it was not within his level of confidence. i think we've learned from past experience that you have to scrutinize the statements very carefully. i think brennan was playing games with the committee, and the committee was willing to play along with john brennan. >> mel goodman i would ask you about the suggestion by dianne feinstein and reiterated by angus king this in my set up a fisa-like court to review targeted assassinations like, giving the court system into a
6:57 pm
process of illegal killings? we need to bring the judicial system in, but remember with the fisa court, i'm only aware of one time where they disallowed an attempt by the national security agency to conduct warrantless eavesdropping. expect them to bring legality to this issue. and eric holder year ago talked about due process for americans and drones have killed americans, their call% "due process does not mean judicial process. what does it really mean? now you have a press spokesman for the president, jay carney, who is referred all of this activity as legal, ethical, and wise. then you have john brennan of the author of the mantle of these killings come in the senate intelligence committee that is perfectly willing to play along with all of this. this is the disturbing aspect of
6:58 pm
this part. >> mel goodman, we have to wrap up. you were in the leading voices that testified against brennan four years ago when president obama wanted him to be cia chief, then he withdrew his and because of the protest. what has changed in four years? >> what has changed is we have a president who is also a constitutional lawyer who has ignored the fourth amendment, the fifth amendment, the six the month, the eighth amendment with regard to speedy trials, due process, regard to illegal searches and seizures, with regard to torture and abuse to a certain extent because the country is still practicing renditions. >> we have five seconds. >> we're still rendering people to other countries. this needs to be monitored. we do not have the office of inspector general conducting oversight within the agency and you don't have a senate
6:59 pm
intelligence committee willing to conduct -- >> mel goodman, we have to leave it there. author of, "national insecurity: the cost of american militarism." [captioning made possible by democracy now!] democracy now!]


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on